About Us

Smart Works Birmingham opened in August 2016 to support unemployed women in the region through the Smart Works dressing and interview coaching service.

“Bringing the Smart Works service to Birmingham will provide a valuable and unique service for women in our city.  There are many support services available, but nowhere can they get the focused two hour service to provide them with the right outfit for their job interview, combined with coaching to give them the confidence to succeed.  I was so pleased to find the Smart Works service to plug this gap and am looking forward to bringing it to life in our area.”

Founding Chair of Smart Works Birmingham and Chief Executive of Northfield Community Partnership

We give our clients a complete outfit of clothes and accessories (theirs to keep) and we provide one-to-one preparation training so they feel more confident and start believing in their own ability to succeed.

The two hours our clients spend with us can be transformative.

All of our Smart Works service delivery is provided by a team of highly skilled, fully trained volunteers and all our stock is donated through other working women or comes direct from our retail partners such as Hobbs, Whistles and Evans.

Introducing the team behind Smart Works Birmingham

We are grateful to our trustees and staff for their time and dedication on behalf of Smart Works Birmingham.

  • Maxine Shanahan is Chair of Smart Works Birmingham.  Maxine has thirty years’ experience in Further Education supporting older adults in to employment through a range of activities and courses.  Maxine taught administration and information technology, she then went on to oversee contract and compliance for externally funded programs such as the apprentice programs.

  • Ruth Paulin – Ruth has had a 35 year career as a senior manager in healthcare. She has supported and developed many individuals to fulfil their potential during this time through mentoring and coaching. Ruth is excited about bringing her operational and people skills and experience to Smart Works Birmingham as a Trustee.

  • Kate Linehan – Kate is a coach and teacher with interests in women’s rights, organic farming and stained glass. After too long in middle management she has rebalanced her life to allow time for these interests and hopes in the future to establish a holistic sanctuary where people can go and just…be.  She is currently inspired by the work of Sharon Blackie and Sophie McKeand in linking literature and female empowerment.

  • Lucy Jeynes – Lucy is one of the founding partners of Larch Consulting and has over 20 years’ experience in advising on all aspects of service strategy and delivery. She has been voted by her peers as a Pioneer of FM, one of the 20 Most Influential Women in FM and is a former Midlands Businesswoman of the Year.  She is a governor of South and City College, Birmingham, a founding committee member of Women in FM and sits on BIFM Members Council.

  • Caroline Wilkie – info coming soon

  • Joanne Penn-Crossland is the Manager of Smart Works Birmingham, looking after client appointments, volunteers, stock and some of our key partnerships.

  • Megan Shanahan is our apprentice at Smart Works Birmingham. She helps out with volunteer management, engaging with our referral partners, social media and deals with taking bookings and general enquiries.